There are those who say that the recent seismic convulsion over John Kerry’s “botched joke” — which insinuated that the U.S. military is mainly comprised of semi-literate trash from America’s ghettos and trailer parks — was orchestrated by right-wing hate-talkers, was way out of proportion and was a “distraction” from the real issues. And as Kerry originally said when he refused to apologize, which was right before he actually apologized, if anyone owes an apology to the troops it’s President Bush for getting them into a hopeless quagmire in Iraq.

But whether or not Iraq turns out to have been a mistake is a completely separate issue from how Senator Nuance feels about members of the United States military forces and that is a perfectly legitimate and significant topic for debate. Of course, debate isn’t really necessary since he has a long and irrefutably conspicuous record on the subject — and let’s just say that it’s less than positive.

No, actually, let’s be a bit more specific and say that it’s utterly disdainful. Back in the early ‘70s, after he came back from Vietnam, his fellow soldiers were not yet part of his fabled “band of brothers,” but, rather, were still war criminals and baby-killers who regularly behaved “in a fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan.” A little later, during a 1972 run for the House, he mused that “a volunteer army would be an army of the poor and the black and the brown” — which, of course, to the blue-blooded Kerry, meant an army of the ignorant — and would be more prone to “the perpetuation of war crimes.”

In more recent times, since he has been a senator, he has been against every new weapons system to come down the pike, almost every military action taken by the U.S., Reagan’s tough stance against Soviet communism, and basically every course of action that would lift a finger to stand up to the larger evils in the world. In other words, he’d sooner lick a metal pump handle in January than even consider the serious use of American military power.

But Kerry’s botched joke, slip of the tongue, verbal indiscretion or whatever you prefer to call it (“faux pas,” if you like French — and Kerry does) provided us not with a Karl Rove-type exploitable distraction, but rather with a monumentally significant issue that all Americans who give a damn about their country and its future (not to mention the future of the entire civilized world) should be aware of. That issue is this: What is the attitude, not just of John Kerry, but of most members of the modern Democratic Party (after all, they nominated the guy to be their supreme leader in 2004), when it comes to the military and the use of American power?

As a public service I’ll go ahead and provide the very simple answer: The modern Democratic Party would rather sit back and watch hordes of bug-eyed, “Allahu akbar!”-screaming jihadists run amok on six of the world’s seven continents than put one pair of American boots on foreign soil to try and save the world from a new Dark Age. Either they don’t perceive the threat as particularly serious or they just don’t seem to think there’s anything much worth fighting for short of an actual D-Day type military invasion of American shores. Either way, Americans are less safe with Democrats in power.

Take their record when it comes to communism, for instance. (And again, I’m talking about the modern, post-Vietnam Democratic Party.) To the Dem’s way of thinking, what was the point in fighting a bunch of senseless, unwinnable skirmishes in exotic, out-of-the-way places like Vietnam and Central America? If the locals wanted to adopt what amounted to little more than an alternative lifestyle, who were we to judge?

Sure, the forces of communism aggregately slaughtered somewhere close to 100 million people during the course of the 20th century, but why was that our problem? Sometimes things get messy when people are trying to work the kinks out of certain liberal social agendas. Given time, the communists might have eventually come up with the perfect utopian social system.

Now, the large existential threat of our time is radical Islamic terrorism, whose insane ideology can hatch crazed fanatics who with box cutters can take down Manhattan skyscrapers and whose followers will do lord only knows what if/when they get their hands on some serious weapons of mass destruction. But John Kerry (and many of his fellow Democrats) thinks it should all be handled like an episode of “Law and Order” where a crime takes place, detectives investigate the scene, arrests are made, the bad guys get lawyered up and it all gets worked out in court. Does that make you feel safe?

John Kerry is about the furthest thing in human form from being an effective joke teller, which would entail having the ability to make other human beings laugh. That basically means that any joke he might try to tell would, by definition, end up being botched.

Nonetheless, he’s sticking to his botched joke explanation and insisting that it was aimed at President Bush, not Americans in uniform. He has also cleverly stipulated that the really significant botch job is the one the president has done in Iraq.

But even if you grant that point, here’s the big question for voters: Which party do you think will ultimately do more to keep America safe — the one that nominated the military-disdaining Kerry to be its presidential candidate (and excommunicated Joe Lieberman for not being antiwar) or the one that’s actually willing to use the world’s greatest military in the fight against radical Islamic terrorism?

See, it’s not the so-called botched joke itself, it’s the thinking behind it that matters, and the record is crystal clear.

Greg Strange provides conservative commentary with plenty of acerbic wit on the people, politics, events and absurdities of our time. See more at his website:

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